Feb 6, 2024 - News

New funding pledges spell hope for Metro, but fare hike still likely

A Metro train car door opening at a station

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Metro could avoid brutal service cuts under a nearly $500 million proposal from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia — but expect higher fares.

Why it matters: The funds will cover most of Metro's $750 million budget shortfall, which would have forced the agency to slash bus routes, reduce running trains, and shut down some stations.

Driving the news: The new proposal still needs approval from legislators in the three jurisdictions, but Metro general manager Randy Clarke says they're "optimistic as we can be," per the Washington Post.

Yes, but: Fully plugging the $750 million hole will also require 12.5% fare increases for Metrorail and buses. The $2 base fare would go up by 25 cents, while the max fare would rise from $6 to $6.75, the Post reports.

  • Instead of closing some stations, Metro would save costs by running six-car trains instead of eight-car trains.
  • Buses would avoid major cuts, but Metro is also planning to redesign the bus network.

By the numbers: D.C. wants to support Metro with $200 million in additional funds.

  • Maryland is eyeing an increase of about $150 million and Virginia is looking at $130 million, the Post reports.

What we're watching: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin — whose plan to relocate the Capitals and Wizards to Potomac Yard relies on Metro — says Metro must present "a business plan that details its requests and the key actions it will take to address its challenges before the Administration can commit to any specific amount of additional aid," per the Post.

Flashback: An influential voice in D.C., former Mayor Anthony Williams, last year said additional Metro funding should be tied to "top-to-bottom reforms."

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